How to Pick Your Medium

March 13, 2024
On a snowy winter's day I stopped to admire the split rail fence and found it led to 3 trees which were aligned by height. The...
Winter Stroll

On a snowy winter's day I stopped to admire the split rail fence and found it led to 3 trees which were aligned by height. The snow has a way of obscuring the trees in the background and setting the mood.

Photo by Bob Wagner

Focus – A Vermont Gallery offers an extensive collection of over 1000 photographs, each available for purchase in a variety of printing mediums including traditional paper prints, varnished paper prints, canvas, metal, and acrylic. The question is: how do you determine which style best suits your desired photo?

This week gallery co-owner and photographer Bob Wagner will share more about the diverse mediums and offer insights into which mediums complement specific images best.

Whale's Tail

On Stellwagen Bank at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay I caught this Humpback Whale headed for the depths. I love the dripping water and barnacles on the flukes of the tail as he makes his dive.

Photo by Bob Wagner


Selecting the medium for your print is an exciting yet thoughtful process that requires consideration of both the image itself and the environment where it will be displayed. While some photos look best as a traditional paper print, others shine on metal or canvas prints, each for various reasons. When it comes to selecting the best medium for the print, Bob shares his favorites and why.

Photos featuring snowy barns and fields tend to look best on canvas because it adds a softness to the image enhancing the overall aesthetic. Black and white photos and those of trees excel on traditional paper prints because it adds a pen and ink feel almost like it was drawn. Photographs with vibrant colors or action look great on metal because it picks up the shine and creates a screen-like viewing experience. Similarly, acrylic prints boast incredible detail and offers a sleek contemporary look.

It's not all about the image though, you also want to consider the price. Canvas prints often come at a lower cost compared to metal prints, while paper prints offer more choices for matte and frame options. Ultimately, the choice hinges on the customer’s vision - whether it be a collection of art with different sizes and mediums or a large statement piece that sets the tone for the space. Photographs are not just artistic pieces, but help create the mood in a space.

Dancing on Water

A special exhibit celebrating dance at Albergo Le Terme Spa & Resort in Tuscany Italy.

Photo by Bob Wagner


In Bob’s own home, metal prints take the center stage against brick walls creating a striking visual contrast. You can explore Bob’s personal series of metal photos showcasing Whale’s Tale on our recent Instagram post. Also on Instagram, see how Winter Stroll printed in traditional paper print and Dancing on Water printed in canvas look on the walls at the gallery.

If you’re unsure about the medium, stop by the gallery to view the difference between the various prints. All photos are available in any of these styles. If you’re unsure what would look best for the photo you’ve selected, you can call the gallery and speak to an expert at (802) 457-7327.

All photos (and more!) are available for purchases through our online gallery, in person or by calling us at (802) 457-7327.

More about the mediums available:

Traditional Paper Print: These photographs are printed on a matte finish, acid-free fine art paper which brings out the most detail and color possible. Traditional paper prints are not matted or mounted and have a ½” white boarder making them ready to be framed. These prints are rated at 70 years without fading.

Varnished Paper Print with Frame: Photographs printed as a varnished paper print are printed on high quality matte paper which helps to bring out the most detail and color. The print is then mounted on Gator board and sprayed with three coats of clear matte varnish which ensures that the image is sealed, acid-free, UV protected and water resistant. Because of this process, glass is not needed for the frame. These prints are rated at 70 years without fading.

Canvas: Canvas prints are printed on high quality canvas and stretched around a wood frame then finished with a beautiful floater frame. The standard frame for this style of print is black with a matte finish but we also can order in white, gold, silver, or a dark natural wood. Colors are rated to last 70 years.

Metal: High quality metal prints are known to add vibrancy to an image. These prints are produced on ChromaLuxe panels using a dye sublimation process. They capture your attention with their amazing range of color, depth, and detail. Metal prints are more scratch resistant than anything available on the market. They are waterproof and will not rust meaning they can be placed in bathrooms, kitchens or even outdoors. These prints are proven to last over 65 years.

Acrylic: Acrylic mounted prints are the most spectacular way to display a photo. Starting with a high-quality glossy traditional print that is face mounted behind ¼” museum quality acrylic and highly polished. Light refracts through the acrylic bringing out amazing detail and color.